Another cold winter’s day and one of the pleasures of such times is setting a nice fire and enjoying a day at home with few commitments. As the fire warms the house and I find myself drawn to the fireplace to enjoy the heat, I realize that there is something missing from the experience. My thoughts turn to my readers, and what better way to complete the moment than by enjoying whisky and sharing my thoughts.
My recent tasting of Cutty Sark 25 has inspired me to try it against the closest blend I have in terms of number of years aged. Johnnie Walker Gold Label is an 18-year-old of good repute and could prove a worthy challenger.
The Cutty Sark has already proven to benefit from the addition of more than just a little water andI have added a few drops to the Johnnie Walker. The benefit of having more than 45% abv to the Cutty Sark 25 is the flexibility in adding water without diluting the drink too much. The Johnnie Walker demands attention in this respect so as not to weaken it too much due to its alcohol content of 40% abv.
The colour on the Johnnie Walker Gold is lighter gold than that of the Cutty Sark. The contrast is stark, as the Cutty Sark 25 makes the Johnnie Walker seem almost yellow next to it.
The legs are satisfyingly thick and slow on both.
The nose of the Gold is lighter and less smokey than the Cutty Sark, both blend with the light smoke from the fireplace perfectly. The Cutty Sark is more oak than the Johnnie Walker. The younger fruit of the Gold and the deeper orange of the Cutty Sark work well together. These two whiskies appear to be complimenting each other rather than competing at this level.
The palate on the gold is lighter and smoother. The Cutty Sark comes on bold and deep, with stronger oak flavours and smoke. Contrasting the sweet fruitiness of the Gold against the pepper of the Cutty Sark is quite interesting and I find myself going back and forth several times to appreciate this obvious difference. The sherry of the Cutty Sark also comes out in stark contast against the Johnnie Walker’s honey.
The finish on the Cutty Sark 25 is richer as well. Its spicy finish is longer, more complex, and more interesting as it leaves behind an oily texture that the Gold has difficulty matching.
Overall, the Cutty Sark is a richer product with enough complexity and character to satisfy most whisky lovers. The Gold has its appeal and is most certainly meant for a broader variety of drinkers and would probably add quality to mixed drinks as well. The palate and finish of the Cutty Sark is just too much for the Gold to compete against however. As I throw another log on the fire, I listen to the sounds of the kids playing, watch the dog sleeping next to me, and remind myself that there is something to say for lazy Sundays at home.